What if Dr Kizza Besigye doesn’t stand as a presidential candidate?

Saturday August 01 2020

The 2021 General Election will go down as the most useless civic activity in Uganda since independence. All the presidential aspirants, including Mr Museveni, are light weight in all aspects.

First, none of them has a clear influence on (and resonance to) the national attitudes and expectations. None of them can offer policy objectives to rally the ekolo (nation) save for tract pamphleteering and sloganeering.

Second, Ugandans also do not seem to be enthusiastic about this election. The social and economic suffering the Covid-19 pandemic has visited unto them (and the near-total government failure to mitigate the situation), has numbed their sensitivity to partisan national civic activities like elections.

Third, there are no issues to inform or influence informed voting in this election. What is Mr Museveni going to tell Ugandans? That he wants their votes to do what? Mr Robert Kyagulanyi may already have an alibi to wit: He will ride behind the standard of change. But do not ask him what he will do with the change; because you will most likely draw a blank stare or a heap of quotes or badly strewn syntax delivered with youthful verve.

The only detectable issues in this election are two: The novelty of Robert Kyagulanyi’s candidature (and everything behind it) and the sit-tight African quintessence of a revolutionary man who is and must be president (at whatever cost to the polity).

I can bet all my royal inheritance (the crown and the throne) that those two issues (and the two candidates they define) do not organically relate to the reality manifest of Ugandans and their future.


And then bang: Dr Kizza Besigye may not run for president! By absenting himself from the ballot, Dr Kizza Besigye has created another sub plot in this thespic creation excusing itself off as an election. Dr Besigye had hitherto been the focus of all Opposition groups demanding that he ‘resigns’ from whatever only the gods know what.

However, in typical Shakespearean sub plotting, Dr Besigye will still influence the elections because he is likely to be the campaign manager of the FDC Candidate. If there is a fear that he will overshadow the candidate, he will mobilise campaign resources.

In the first place, why did Mr Kyagulayi’s fans want Dr Besigye to ‘resign’? It is because the entire political deportment, disposition, organisation, mobilisation, latitude and attitude of People Power was based on the candidature of Kyagulanyi in the presidential election. And to have a hustle-free ride, there was a need for Dr Besigye to toka kwa barabara’ (clear the way) by absenting himself from the 2021 ballot).

That is why even when the need arose for People Power to form or constitute itself as a political party, Mr Kyagulanyi ‘just got’ one to merely serve as a vehicle for his presidential candidature. And now that Dr Besigye is likely not to run for president, those who demanded his ‘resignation are left with an empty can in their hands.

Mr Erias Lukwago, the Lord Mayor of Kampala, is said to have officially joined FDC as a bona fide member. And the rumour is that he could be the FDC presidential candidate. Mr Lukwago is a good shot; but to what extent? To the extent that FDC must sponsor a presidential candidate? Can’t FDC just boycott this tasteless election?

As we go into this election, the attitude in Buganda region reminds one of the time Mr Nasser Sebaggala was the centre of political attraction in Kampala. Is Kyagulanyi the re-incarnation of Sebaggala? Will Dr Besigye’s absence from the ballot be helpful to Mr Kyagulanyi’s candidature?

Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of the East African Flagpost.